Depending on the size of your pet and where you’re headed, Delta Airlines allows dogs and cats to be carried on to the plane or shipped as “very special” cargo. They know pets are part of your family and say they “treat our four-legged friends with the same attention and courtesy our human passengers expect.” There are specific policies and procedures you need to know in advance. Some are plane-specific, because not all aircraft can accommodate animals. Some are destination-specific, because Delta flies to a variety of international locations, each of which has its own rules about bringing in pets.
Dogs and cats must travel as checked baggage or cargo, not in-cabin, because they have to go straight to the quarantine facility once they arrive. Hawaii requires 120-day quarantine, but if you meet all the health requirements in a timely manner, that may be reduced to a month or less. Among other paperwork, your pet must be accompanied by a rabies certificate dated within 10 days of departure.
Delta does not participate in Hawaii’s Neighbor Island Dog and Cat Entry Program, so with this airline your pet must fly to Honolulu.
Your cat or dog (or ferret) must travel as mandated cargo if you’re headed to the United Kingdom or Ireland. However, service dogs or cats may fly in-cabin to London or Manchester if they have the right documentation. EU regulations do not allow pets on Boeing 757 aircraft.
You must comply with the requirements of the EU Pet Travel Scheme, which facilitates travel among EU countries for dogs and cats. It’s important to understand what this program entails. Procedures for Britain and Ireland are somewhat more stringent, but for other EU countries, your pet will need:
- A microchip (tattoos are no longer acceptable).
- A Veterinary Certificate. The health requirements your pet must meet depend on your country of departure. It can take anywhere from one to four or months to meet these requirements.
South Africa, Australia and New Zealand
All pets must travel as manifested cargo, except service dogs may ride in the cabin.
Pets must travel as manifested cargo. They must also have pre-authorized import and quarantine permits.
Except to prohibited destinations (check Delta’s website for a complete list), you can carry your dog, cat, or bird on board if he’s at least 10 weeks old and you’re traveling within the US, to Canada, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands or Brazil. Advance reservations are required, accepted on a first-come-first-served basis. The total number of carry-on pets is limited, with different allocations for different seating/ticket classes.
You can use a hard- or soft-sided carrier, but your pet must be able to stand and lie down comfortably. The carrier also has to fit under the seat in front of you, and you’ll have to ask Delta for the dimensions of your specific aircraft. Your pup or kitty has to remain in their carrier in the boarding and lounge areas as well as during the flight.
With certain breed exceptions, any pet can fly as cargo as long as it’s “non-offensive and not dangerous to passengers or baggage handlers.” Domestic shipments require at least 24-hour advance reservations, international shipments require at least three days. Pets must have a health certificate issued within 10 days of travel, and must travel in an IATA-approved crate.
For all international cargo destinations, you must hire a pet shipper who is a member of the International Pet & Animal Transportation Association.
While all airlines restrict pet travel during unusually hot or cold weather, the specific rules may vary. In Delta’s case, the airline will not accept pets when temperatures are predicted to be 20o F or lower, on the ground at any point in the animal’s itinerary.